Everything is up in the air for the Cleveland Cavaliers right now and that comes with the territory when balancing the pending free agent decision of LeBron James with the quest to reach yet another NBA Finals. Of course, it would help calm the waters if the Cavaliers were actually playing well but, given the team’s recent struggles, there is quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding Cleveland and that has made its way to the trade market in advance of February’s deadline.
With buzz surrounding a potential decision to move away from Isaiah Thomas and plenty of discussion about the Cavs moving one or both of the team’s first round selections, a new name has appeared from a somewhat unlikely location. David Aldridge of NBA.com brings word that the Cavs have inquired about Hawks guard Kent Bazemore and, while he does not describe him as a “lockdown wing” at this stage, there is little doubt that Bazemore would represent a defensive upgrade from some of Cleveland’s current perimeter options.
Still, it should be noted that Bazemore is set to make more than $18 million for the 2018-2019 season and, beyond that, the veteran swingman has a player option for more than $19 million for the 2019-2020 season. Barring some sort of massive shift, he would be expected to opt in to that final year and, in a universe that potentially exists without LeBron in the fold, the Cavs would have to swallow hard at the thought of committing more than $37 million (in addition to this year’s salary) to a player with Bazemore’s skill set.
The Cavs would almost certainly be better immediately with a player like Bazemore in the fold but just how much better remains to be seen. It does appear that GM Koby Altman will be leaving no stone unturned, though, and that could lead to a few interesting discussions, including a few with Atlanta.